Car Reviews

2019 VW Jetta GLI

2019 VW Jetta GLI For shoppers that like the GTI but want a sedan By Andres Valbuena, Partner, Car-ED.com | March 2019 The 2019 Jetta GLI is a great choice for the shopper that wants performance and style. The new MQB platform is excellent and brings technology updates including the GTI powertrain to this sedan. If you want to make your commute more fun and save thousands over the luxury brands, then definitely take a look at this new Jetta GLI. What is this vehicle? The Jetta GLI first launched in the 80's as the MK1. Back then, it used the same engine as the GTI and also included some better bolstered seats, sport suspension, and other performance tweaks. It was fun to drive and was a great performance version of the Jetta. That same formula carried onto the second generation but then it lost its way in the MK3, including its name. In 2005, the original formula came to be again with the MK4 and carried onto the MK5. That formula of using the same equipment as the GTI kept those performance sedan customers smiling. With the Mk6 Jetta, there were changes made to the platform that impacted the base driving characteristics. Because the Jetta was redesigned towards a lower cost vehicle, some of that cost cutting naturally carried into the GLI. No longer was it a GTI with a trunk. It [...]

2019-03-30T16:12:47-04:00Mar 2019|Car Reviews|

2020 Toyota Corolla

2020 Toyota Corolla With a clear vision, the 2020 Corolla is Greater than Ever By Kevin Joostema, Partner, Car-ED.com | February 2019 The 2020 Toyota Corolla brings a long list of technology updates and new engine choices to its major cycle refresh that allow it to continue to be a wise choice to get you through the grind of daily life.   Whether it is your trip to high school, to college, your commute to work, daily runs to the grocery store and Target or even Starbucks runs,  the Corolla provides a safe and secure feeling to leave home with and return every day. What is this vehicle? As the best-selling nameplate in the world, the Toyota Corolla vision is to offer a model for everyone.  It is only fitting then that this is among the first 2020 model year vehicles to appear.  Yes, that’s right, the 2020’s are here! It has been over 50 years since the first Corolla introduction in 1966.  The Corolla is the compact sedan offer from Toyota – and became the best selling model in the world back in 1997 – surpassing the VW Beetle.  The 2020 model is the 12th generation and over 46 million have been sold worldwide.  The Corolla, along with the Honda Civic and the Hyundai Elantra and to a lesser extent the VW Jetta, define the continuum of the Compact Sedan segment in the US [...]

2019-02-27T13:48:21-04:00Feb 2019|Car Reviews|

First Drive: 2019 Mazda6

2019 Mazda 6 Grand Touring The Mazda6 sedan is more than a pretty face. With sharp-handling, a classy cabin, and optional turbo four-cylinder, the Mazda6 is both entertaining and economical. By Nick Kurczewski, Contributor, Car-ED.com | Jan 2019 Can a family sedan be kind to your car shopping budget, but still provide actual excitement when you're behind the wheel? The Mazda6 is engaging to drive, but remains a high-value proposition when faced against rivals like the Honda Accord, Ford Fusion, Toyota Camry, and Nissan Altima. What is this vehicle? The 2019 Mazda6 is a sedan that wants to prove you don't need to sacrifice driving excitement for practicality. For many car shoppers, the default choice when shopping for a new vehicle is a compact to midsize SUV. With that in mind, Mazda has several great alternatives (CX-5, CX-9) if you're determined to buy a sport-utility. Yet, when it comes to taking on rivals like the highly-regarded Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, the Mazda6 presents a unique spin on the traditional family sedan. That's because this midsize four-door has sharp handling that pays more than a passing resemblance to Mazda's own MX-5 Miata sports car. The 6 is much bigger and doesn't have a folding convertible top, of course. But there is an energetic personality lurking beneath the surface of this elegant Mazda sedan. And while we're talking about surfaces, let's point out that [...]

2019-02-11T18:13:31-04:00Jan 2019|Car Reviews|

LA Auto Show: White Space Crossovers

LA Auto Show: White Space Crossovers Brands are eager to fill out their CUV lineups. By Randy Lioz, Editor, Car-ED.com | December 2018 Sport utilities, particularly crossover vehicles on car-based platforms (as opposed to rugged truck-based SUVs), have continued to take over the passenger car market. By the end of October of last year, automakers had sold 15% more utilities than cars. Over that same period this year that advantage has grown to 42%! There's no sign of this trend abating, which means that the industry continues to pour resources into developing new utilities to fill every possible niche. But good ideas are contagious, so there are definitely plenty of commonalities in the vehicles that are hitting the market. At the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show there were several brand new utilities on display that buyers should check out. The first two that we'll highlight have similar missions for their brands. The Chevrolet Blazer and Honda Passport each revive names from the past that recall the era in which SUVs first started to gain prominence. The original Blazer and Passport were 5-seater midsized truck-based SUVs, competitors to the popular Ford Explorer and Nissan Pathfinder from the '90s. These new-for-'19 models follow a similar formula, in that they're midsized and ready for the dirt trails, though both are car-based, which allows for better space and fuel efficiency. The third vehicle that deserves attention in this [...]

2018-12-20T14:08:35-04:00Dec 2018|Car Reviews|

First Impressions: 2019 Infiniti QX50 Essential

2019 Infiniti QX50 Essential This luxury crossover plays it pretty safe... until it comes to pricing. By Cherise Threewitt, Contributor, Car-ED.com | October 2018 The Infiniti QX50, a compact crossover, disappeared from the market after 2017. Now it’s back with a full redesign and an interesting new engine. We had the chance to check out a loaded Infiniti QX50 at the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) Fall Rally in early October. Here are our first impressions.  The QX50 looks good inside and out, and it’s comfortable to drive. The seats are comfortable and easy to adjust. The display is in a nice spot on the dash, which makes it easy to see the navigation system because it’s in the shade. The downside of that is that the infotainment screen is uncomfortably low (below the navigation display) and it sometimes feels like you’re looking too far off the road. Our test vehicle featured a two-tone interior with an unusual color combination of cream and an odd grayish-brown — not our favorite, but easy enough to change. Overall, visibility is good, but the QX50 has a sculpted hood that creeps up into view and can be kind of distracting. Probably something you’d get used to over time, or find a different seating position to compensate. Infiniti powers the QX50 with an all-new engine, a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with variable compression, paired with a [...]

2018-10-29T06:52:31-04:00Oct 2018|Car Reviews|

First Impressions: 2018 Ford Expedition Max Platinum

2018 Ford Expedition Max Platinum How big of an SUV do you need, really? By Cherise Threewitt, Contributor, Car-ED.com | October 2018 The Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) Fall Rally, which took place in October at the Autobahn Country Club southwest of Chicago, gave car-ED the opportunity to check out a bunch of vehicles we might not have otherwise seen. The 2018 Ford Expedition Max Platinum caught our attention — how could it not? The largest version of this large SUV dominated the vehicle parking area. It’s understandable that this Expedition wasn’t allowed out on the track, so we hopped in and headed out to the country roads that surround the country club. Based on that brief drive, here are our thoughts on this super-sized version of the Expedition. The Ford Expedition, the brand’s large, traditional SUV, is available in three trim levels, all of which can be upgraded to the extended-wheelbase Max. Thus, the Max Platinum is the top-tier Expedition with extra passenger room and an additional 15 cubic feet of cargo space. It’s huge, yet comfortable and surprisingly easy to handle. The overall vibe of the Expedition’s cabin is rather masculine, thanks to black leather upholstery, dark trim, and a beefy steering wheel. The seats are extremely comfortable, which is nice, and there are some touches that help lighten everything up, such as a massive panoramic moonroof and a stylish [...]

2018-10-29T06:53:00-04:00Oct 2018|Car Reviews|

First Impressions: 2018 Ford Mustang GT

2018 Ford Mustang GT This member of the stable brings distinctive personality. By Cherise Threewitt, Contributor, Car-ED.com | October 2018 The Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) Fall Rally, which took place at Autobahn Country Club in Illinois in early October, featured some interesting and attention-getting vehicles from Ford. Among them were the Ford Mustang GT and Mustang Bullitt. Ford representatives on hand at the event assured us that the two cars feel very different, despite the fact that they share a powertrain. We thought we’d start with just one and see how the day progressed. Here are our first impressions of the 2018 Ford Mustang GT, based on a few lead-follow laps of the Autobahn Country Club track. The Mustang GT ranks about mid-pack in the complicated Mustang hierarchy. It’s at the top of the “mainstream” Mustang trim levels and below the high-performance Shelby models. From there, you can further drill down to Fastback (the model provided at the MAMA event), Premium Fastback, and Premium Convertible models. In practical terms? That means the Mustang GT comes with a bunch of standard features, though we didn’t have much time to play around with them as we queued up for the track. The Recaro seats were very nice and supportive, for example, but the adjustments felt a little finicky. The cabin of the Mustang GT has a lot going on, it must be said, [...]

2018-10-29T06:53:39-04:00Oct 2018|Car Reviews|

First Impressions: 2019 Toyota Avalon Touring

2019 Toyota Avalon Touring Style and sophistication, but at what price? By Cherise Threewitt, Contributor, Car-ED.com | October 2018 The Toyota Avalon, the brand’s large sedan, gets a full redesign for 2019. We had an opportunity to see the all-new Avalon in top-tier Touring trim at the Midwest Automotive Media Association Fall Rally in October and came away impressed… with one major caveat. It’s a well-rounded car and it wears its new styling well. Here are our impressions of the Avalon based on a short drive around the Autobahn Country Club grounds in Joliet, Illinois. Unfortunately, this Toyota was allowed on the street course only, no track, but we got a good sense of the car during that time. The Avalon’s cabin is nice without being ostentatious. The seats, trimmed in synthetic leather, offer lots of adjustments, and the perforated steering wheel feels good in the hands. The center console is high and comes up to meet a high armrest, which creates a strong division of space between driver and passenger and makes the car feel nice and roomy. We didn’t have much time to play with the infotainment system, but, like other current Toyota models, it seems nice and straightforward. Unfortunately, the whole cabin feels a little too angular — almost like the designers were trying to remind us of the front grille. The dash line is really swoopy with a [...]

2018-10-29T06:54:08-04:00Oct 2018|Car Reviews|

Compare and Contrast: 2019 Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra

Compare and Contrast: 2019 Chevrolet Silverado & GMC Sierra There's more to set these trucks apart then ever. By Randy Lioz, Editor, Car-ED.com | October 2018 What are these vehicles? The Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra are General Motors' two full-sized pickup entries, the combination of which allows GM to challenge its crosstown rival Ford in this segment. These two trucks are capable of reporting for duty for full-scale work tasks, like hauling huge payloads and serious trailering, but like the rest of the full-sized truck segment they've become luxurious and feature-packed enough to serve as daily drivers. If you spend any time in the great state of Texas, you'll quickly realize how many people are actually doing this. While these two trucks are quite similar overall, GM has focused a lot in recent years on differentiation among its brands, and with their debut for the 2019 model year, these all-new trucks are as distinct from one another as they've ever been. While they continue to over differences in terms of styling and interior materials, GMC is now focusing on packing the Sierra full of innovative tech, much of which isn't available in the Silverado, to appeal to a different set of buyers. Who are these vehicles for? Any full-sized pickup now needs to appeal to personal-use buyers just as much as commercial customers, so these trucks focus on both [...]

2018-11-05T14:20:04-04:00Oct 2018|Car Reviews|

2019 Honda Pilot Elite AWD

2019 Honda Pilot Elite AWD This family SUV does most things well. By Cherise Threewitt, Contributor, Car-ED.com | October 2018 What is this vehicle? The Honda Pilot is a family-friendly three-row SUV. The Pilot is known for above-average reliability, for spacious passenger seating and cargo areas, and for affordable convenience and driver assistance features. This is also one of the more comfortable, easy to drive vehicles in the segment. Unlike some of its competitors, the Pilot avoids falling into the trap of trying to be sporty, which is a wise decision on Honda’s part. The Honda Pilot was last redesigned in 2016 and gets some minor updates to the features menu this year. Who is this vehicle for? Looking for an affordable midsize SUV that can seat up to eight passengers, and is spacious enough for adults to find a comfortable spot in the back row? You really only have a few choices, and the Pilot is one of them. Of course, if you’re willing to compromise rear space and just leave the third row for the kids, you’ll have more options, but the Pilot doesn’t ask you to make that compromise. In short, the Pilot is a very good vehicle for a family, especially when you take a look at its safety and convenience features. Why is this vehicle important to you, the buyer? The Pilot was already a pretty [...]

2018-10-09T14:21:56-04:00Oct 2018|Car Reviews|
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